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State Wellness Initiatives

State Wellness Initiatives

By Tonya Gomez Vol . 18, No. 19 / March 2010

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Wellness involves preventing disease and promoting health.

Many employers, government entities and public health advocates tout “wellness initiatives” as good investments to improve health and save costs. But just what are wellness initiatives? Wellness involves preventing disease and promoting health. This is increasingly important when, according to Health Affairs, in 2005, more than 133 million Americans had one or more chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer. This number is expected to grow to 171 million by 2030.

Chronic diseases drive U.S. health care spending, accounting for up to 78 percent of all health care costs. An estimated 96 percent of Medicare spending and 83 percent of Medicaid spending are for people with chronic diseases. Many chronic diseases can be prevented with regular health screenings and healthy behaviors, such as more physical activity, better diet and less tobacco use.

   

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